To continue providing critical healing and educational services to victims of crime and juveniles who use violence, Community Violence Intervention Center (CVIC) has agreed to resume therapy services and restorative justice programs previously supported by Lutheran Social Service (LSS) of North Dakota, which closed earlier this year. Both are funded through September via a federal grant administered by the state of North Dakota.
“CVIC believes in a holistic approach to virtually ending violence. Continuing these services is the right thing to do for our LSS neighbors, as well as the victims, offenders and communities impacted by its loss,” said Coiya Tompkins, CVIC’s president/CEO. “We appreciate an opportunity to continue these services and support friends and colleagues in several communities throughout the Red River Valley.”
Therapy services for victims of crime will continue for 23 clients in locations across North Dakota. Former LSS therapists who have started a counseling clinic will continue to support clients they served under LSS through a contractual agreement with CVIC. “This continuity of service is so important to the healing for these victims,” said Tompkins, “and will provide an opportunity for these therapists to complete services in an ethical and compassionate manner.”
In addition, CVIC will fund training for up to two youth therapists and expand a partnership with The Village to train therapists to administer Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), filling a gap in healing services for children 7 and younger. The evidence-based treatment is used to help strengthen parent-child relationships by strengthening trust and bond and help parents develop confident, consistent strategies to address behaviors often resulting from trauma.
Restorative justice, which emphasizes repairing damage caused by harmful behavior through a cooperative process that involves offenders, victims and community members, will be a new program at CVIC. “Supporting this program is a good fit with our existing strengths, enables us to intensify our work to virtually end violence in two generations, and add greater value to our state and region moving forward,” said Tompkins.
CVIC hired two staff previously working with LSS’s restorative justice program to provide services to Grand Forks County and Fargo-area schools through the duration of the funding period. Specifically, CVIC will absorb programming for victims of bullying, harassment, assault and other harmful actions in school settings. The program will serve approximately 50 people in the two communities through September.
CVIC has, said CVIC Vice President of Victim Witness & Visitation Laura Nash Frisch, collaborated with restorative justice programming in the past. “This short-term project provides an opportunity to evaluate it further and carefully consider funding options that may enable us to continue with it in the future.”
“Both of these programs,” said Tompkins, “align with what we do best – providing safety and healing services to victims and collaborating with partners in response to community need. We are grateful that this transition was possible so that these important services could continue for communities in both Grand Forks and Fargo. We’re excited about the growth possibilities this opportunity has presented for expanding our programming as well. ”